Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Island Taggart Visit

Island Taggart is one of the largest islands on Strangford Lough, County Down.

Today we all mustered at Balloo, Killinchy, and motored the short distance, via Rathcunningham Road, to the quay.

This is a cul-de-sac which terminates at Rathcunningham Quay.

From here, Simmy Island and Ringdufferin are adjacent.


About ten of us boarded the little motor-boat from the quay and made the five-minute trip over to Taggart in two runs.


This island has been a property of the National Trust since 1985, when it was donated by Patrick and Kathleen Mackie.

There is a derelict farmstead in the middle of the island, which was used for the film production of The December Bride (by the Ulster author, Sam Hanna Bell).

Taggart is about 85 acres in extent.

Old orchard at back of farmhouse

Today we were cutting down gorse bushes.

I had my favourite cheese-and-onion sandwiches for lunch.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Newtownbarry House

THE HALL-DARES WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY WEXFORD, WITH 5,627 ACRES

ELIZABETH EATON, eldest daughter and co-heir of Henry Eaton, of North Lodge, Essex, by Elizabeth, his wife, last surviving child of George Mildmay, of Corbett's Stye, Essex, married firstly, in 1779, JOHN DARE, of Bentry Heath, Essex, and by him she had an only child,
John Hopkins Dare, of Theydon Bois, Essex, who died unmarried in 1805.
Mrs Dare married secondly, 1791, JOHN MARMADUKE GRAFTON, of Cranbrook House (only son of John Marmaduke Grafton, of Romford), who took the surname of DARE, in addition to that of GRAFTON, in 1805, and died in 1810.

Mrs Dare died in 1823, leaving by her second husband an only child,

ELIZABETH GRAFTON GRAFTON-DARE (1793-), who wedded, in 1815, ROBERT WESTLEY HALL, of Wyefield, and of Cranbrook, High Sheriff of Essex, 1821, and MP for South Essex, who took the surname and arms of DARE, 1823, in addition to those of HALL.

Mr Hall-Dare and his sister, Elizabeth Catherine, were the children of Robert Westley Hall, of Ilford Lodge and FitzWalters, Essex, by Maria Elizabeth his wife, widow of Abraham de Codyn, of Demerara, and daughter of Cornelius Brower, of the same place and grandchildren of the Rev Westley Hall, who died in London ca 1770.

The Rev Westley Hall was son of one of the Halls of Hillsborough, Kent, who married the sister of Sir Robert Westley, Lord Mayor of London.

Mr Hall-Dare died in 1836, and by his said wife, Elizabeth Grafton Grafton-Dare, left issue,
ROBERT WESTLEY, his heir;
John Grafton, 1818-19;
Henry;
Arthur Charles; died in infancy;
Francis Marmaduke, b 1830;
Mary Elizabeth; Emma Burton; Anne Mildmay; Agnes; Elizabeth.
The eldest son, 

ROBERT WESTLEY HALL-DARE (1817-66), of FitzWalters, Essex, married, in 1839, Frances Anna Catherine, daughter of Gustavus Lambart, of Beauparc, County Meath, and had issue,
ROBERT WESTLEY, his heir;
Charles;
Olivia Frances Grafton; Mabel Virginia Anna; Frances Maria.
Miss Mabel Hall-Dare married James Theodore Bent in 1877.

Mr Robert Westley Hall-Dare was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT WESTLEY HALL-DARE JP DL (1840-76), of Newtownbarry House, County Wexford, and of Theydon Bois, Essex, High Sheriff of County Wexford, 1872, who wedded, in 1863, Caroline Susan Henrietta, second daughter of Henry Newton, of Mount Leinster Lodge, County Carlow  and had issue,
John Marmaduke, died in infancy;
ROBERT WESTLEY, his heir;
Arthur Mildmay;
Elizabeth Frances; Hilda Mary; Evelyn Una.
Mr Hall-Dare was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

ROBERT WESTLEY HALL-DARE JP DL (1866-1939), of Newtownbarry House and East Hall, Wennington, Essex, High Sheriff of Wexford, 1891, and of Carlow, 1896, Captain, 9th Brigade, N Irish Division, RA, who espoused, in 1896, Helen, second daughter of John Taylor Gordon, of Nethermuir, Aberdeenshire, and Blackhouse, Ayrshire, and had issue,
ROBERT WESTLEY, his heir;
Charles Grafton, b 1902;
Audrey; Daphne.
Mr Hall-Dare was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT WESTLEY HALL-DARE (1899-1972), of Newtownbarry House, who married, in 1937, Elizabeth Maria Patricia, daughter of John Brooks Close-Brooks, and had issue, an only child,

CLODY ELIZABETH HALL-DARE (1938-), of Newtownbarry House, educated at Byam Shaw School of the Arts, London; lecturer at City and Guilds College of Art, London, and lived in 1976 at Newtownbarry House.


NEWTOWNBARRY HOUSE, near Bunclody, County Wexford, built between 1883-89, is one of the last country houses designed by Sir Charles Lanyon, assisted by his pupil W H Lynn and his son John.

It is almost entirely a new structure, both extraordinarily austere and Italianate at the same time.

The fenestration of the two adjoining garden fronts reveals a sequence of rooms, expressed with military precision in impeccably detailed granite.


The upstairs windows are framed with a stone surround so that it makes them the same size as the windows below, an idea first used by Lanyon nearly thirty years before at Drenagh, County Londonderry.

Features of the house include a top-lit picture gallery and a richly carved staircase which lets natural light onto the landing, staircase and hall.

There also many finely carved fireplaces.

The library is finely crafted from wood.

Newtownbarry was built by the Hall-Dare family and still remains in the family.

A lot of the information in this script is quoted from an architectural report by Jeremy Williams.

Newtownbarry House is surrounded by beautiful landscapes, gardens and a large pond adjacent to the entrance of the house.

There is an ornamental lake; the Rose Garden; the recently renovated 19th century Sunken Garden.

The prospect from the banks of the River Slaney is to the heights of the Blackstairs Mountains.

The present owner is Clody Norton, the daughter of Robert Westley Hall-Dare, who lives there today with her family.

First published in August, 2012.

Dane of Killyhevlin

THE DANE FAMILY OWNED 716 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNRT FERMANAGH

JOHN DANE left England and was settled at Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, in 1667-8, where he was churchwarden.

He married Mary, daughter of Peter Weldon, and had issue,
PAUL;
Richard;
Elisabeth; Anne; Catherine.
Mr Dane died in 1678, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

PAUL DANE (1647-1745), of Killyhevlin, County Fermanagh, Provost of Enniskillen, 1687-90, who wedded firstly, Elizabeth, daughter of Christopher Martin, and had issue,
JOHN, of whom hereafter;
Paul.
He espoused secondly, in 1680, Eliza, daughter of the Rt Rev Joseph Story, Lord Bishop of Kilmore, and had issue,
Christopher;
Martin (Rev);
William;
Paul;
Richard;
Thomas (Rev), Curate of Tynan;
Mary; Margaret; Catherine; Wilhelmina; Elisabeth; Jane; Eleanor.
Mr Dane was present at the battle of the Boyne. WILLIAM III gave him two pictures of himself and QUEEN MARY, now in Enniskillen Town Hall.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN DANE (1670-1742), of Killyhevlin, who wedded, in 1734, Elizabeth, daughter of James Auchinleck, of Thomastown, County Fermanagh, by Elizabeth his wife, daughter of Colonel James Corry, of Castle Coole, and had issue,
PAUL, his heir;
Elisabeth; Sarah.
Mr Dane served in Brigadier Wolseley's Regiment of Horse, and subsequently abroad under the Duke of Marlborough, who gave him a jewelled sword.

He was succeeded by his son,

PAUL DANE, of Killyhevlin, who wedded, ca 1769, Margaret Swords (who remarried after his decease), and had issue,
RICHARD, his heir;
William, a military officer;
James, of Dromard;
John, a military officer;
Paul, Ensign in Tyrone Militia;
Christopher, of Enniskillen;
Alexander, died young;
Catherine, m Dr Trimble;
Elisabeth, m Captain Willis.
Mr Dane died in 1800, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

RICHARD DANE JP DL (1770-1842), of Killyhevlin, High Sheriff, 1816, Provost of Belturbet, who espoused, in 1809, Anna, daughter of the Rev Alexander Auchinleck, of Lisgoole Abbey, Rector of Rossory, County Fermanagh, and had issue,
Paul (1810-73), dsp;
Somerset (1810-42), physician in the Army;
Richard Martin (Dr);
WILLIAM AUCHINLECK, of whom presently;
Alexander, died young;
Armar Lowry-Corry (1825-6);
Daniel Elden (1828-33);
John (1831-33);
Juliana; Anna Maria; Eva; Henrietta; Margaret.
Mr Dane was succeeded by his fourth son,

WILLIAM AUCHINLECK DANE (1816-73), of Killyreagh, County Fermanagh, and 37, Rutland Square, Dublin, Solicitor, Sub-Sheriff of Fermanagh, 1849, who married, in 1846, Sarah, youngest daughter of Benjamin Friel Foster, 46th Regiment, of Drumloo, County Monaghan, and had issue,
Paul (1847-89);
Benjamin Friel Foster (Rev);
Richard Martin (1852-1903), MP, judge;
JAMES WHITESIDE, of whom hereafter;
Elisabeth; Florence; Anna; Sarah Gertrude.
Mr Dane was succeeded by his fourth son,

JAMES WHITESIDE DANE MBE DL (1856-1925), of Castle Warden, Naas, County Kildare, and Bonnybrook, County Fermanagh, Solicitor, Clerk of the Crown and Peace for County Kildare, who died unmarried.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Purdysburn Pictures

THE BATTS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY DOWN, WITH 12,010 ACRES

The Belfast Health & Social Care Trust has very kindly sent me several images of Purdysburn House, Newtownbreda, County Down, and its pleasure grounds prior to demolition ca 1965.


I've already written about the Batt family here.


The pleasure grounds were laid out in the form of a Union Flag, and the design was carried out with all the borders planted red, white and blue.


The wonderful yew-tree hedges were apparently unequalled in Northern Ireland. 

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Belhavel House

THE LYONS-MONTGOMERYS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY LEITRIM, WITH 10,179 ACRES


CAPTAIN JOHN LYONS, of Drogheda, County Louth, second son of John Lyons, of Ledestown, County Westmeath, by Elizabeth his wife, daughter of Henry Williams, Deputy-Governor of Antigua, married Dorothea, daughter of Hugh Montgomery, son of Sir Thomas Montgomery, Knight, and had issue,
John, killed in a duel, 1754;
HUGH, of whom presently;
Charles, Town Major of Halifax.
The second son,

HUGH LYONS (1750-92), assuming the name of MONTGOMERY, wedded, in 1773, Catherine, daughter of Richard, 4th Viscount Boyne, and had issue,
HUGH, his heir;
Charles (Rev), Rector of Innismagrath;
Georgina; Elizabeth; Catherine.
Mr Lyons-Montgomery was succeeded by his son,

HUGH LYONS-MONTGOMERY (1780-1826), of Belhavel, County Leitrim, who wedded, in 1812, Elizabeth, daughter of the Very Rev Stewart Blacker, of Carrickblacker, County Armagh, Dean of Leighlin, and by her (who wedded secondly, Monsieur de Champrè) had issue,
HUGH, his heir;
Lambert Stewart, Lt-Col, Scots Fusiliers;
Charles, Capt 65th Bengal Infantry;
Elizabeth; Caroline; Sophia; Louisa.
Mr Lyons-Montgomery was succeeded by his eldest son,

HUGH LYONS-MONTGOMERY JP DL (1816-82), High Sheriff, 1840, MP for Leitrim, 1852-8, who espoused, in 1840, Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Smith, of Annesbrook, County Meath; and had issue,
Hugh, died in 1874;
HENRY WILLOUGHBY STEWART, his heir;
Lambert de Winton;
Alfred Otho;
Kynaston Walter Otho;
Elizabeth; Caroline Matilda; Ada Louisa Mary; Evelyn Clemina;Henrietta Emily Anna;
Florence Maud; Norma Wilhelmina; Ethel Constance; Beatrice Cecilia Blanche.
Mr Lyons-Montgomery was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

HENRY WILLOUGHBY STEWART LYONS-MONTGOMERY (1850-), of Belhavel, Lieutenant, Leitrim Militia, who married, in 1876, Jane Singer, only child of Captain Travers Crofton, of Lakefield.

*****

BELHAVEL HOUSE, near Killargue, County Leitrim, was built during the Irish Famine.

The family took up residence there in 1850.

Owing to Mr Lyons-Montgomery's impecunious circumstances, his house and estate were declared bankrupt by a Dublin High Court in 1880.

As a consequence, he, his wife and some family members moved to France where he died a few years later.

By 1900 the big house was in ruins and was demolished by the land commission.

The stones were used to construct a new road.

The Irish tourist association survey in the 1940s recorded that "every stone was taken away to build houses throughout the district".

An earlier castle, also in Belhavel, is reputed to have been built by the first Montgomery to settle in the area in the 17th century. 

Unfortunately I have no images of Belhavel House.

First published in September, 2012.

Friday, 23 September 2016

The Cole Baronetcy

THE COLE BARONETCY, OF NEWLAND, COUNTY DUBLIN, WAS CREATED IN 1660 FOR JOHN COLE MP

By a deed of WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR, extant, it appears that the COLES were of the rank of barons, and were resident in Hampshire in that monarch's reign.

SIR WILLIAM COLE (c1585-1653), Knight, the first member of the Cole family who settled in Ulster, fixed his abode, early in the reign of JAMES I, in County Fermanagh, and becoming an undertaker in the Plantation, had an assignment, in 1611, of 1,000 acres of escheated lands in the county wherein he resided; to which, in 1612, were added 320 acres in the same county, whereof 80 acres were assigned for the town of Enniskillen, and that town was then incorporated by charter, consisting of a provost and twelve burgesses, Sir William Cole being the first provost (mayor).

Sir William was MP for County Fermanagh in 1634.

He raised a regiment, which he commanded against the rebels, in 1643, with important success.

Sir William married twice: Firstly, to Susannah, daughter and heir of John Croft, of Lancaster, by whom he had two daughters; and secondly, to Catherine, daughter of Sir Laurence Parsons, of Birr, second Baron of the Irish Exchequer, by whom he left, at his decease, in 1653, two sons, namely,
Michael, his successor, ancestor of the Earls of Enniskillen;
JOHN, of whom we treat.
The younger son, 

SIR JOHN COLE, of Newland, County Dublin, MP for Fermanagh, 1661, having distinguished himself during the rebellion, particularly in the relief of Enniskillen, of which he was governor, and being instrumental in promoting the restoration of CHARLES II, was created a baronet in 1660, denominated of Newland, County Dublin.

Sir John married Elizabeth, daughter of John Chichester, of Dungannon, County Tyrone, and was succeeded, following his decease, in 1691, by his eldest son,

SIR ARTHUR COLE, 2nd Baronet (c1664-1754), MP for Enniskillen, 1692-5, and for Roscommon, 1695-1703, who was raised to the peerage, in 1715, by GEORGE I, as BARON RANELAGH, of Ranelagh, County Wicklow, with limitation of the title, in default of his male issue, to the heirs male of his father.

His lordship died in 1754, without male issue, and the titles became extinct.

***** 

HAVING first served in the Low Countries, Cole came to Ireland to try his fortune in 1601, and served under Sir George Carew, 1st Earl of Totnes and Lord President of Munster.

In 1607 he was appointed Captain of the Longboats and Barges at Ballyshannon and Lough Erne.

His future was, however, uncertain until the Flight of the Earls and, particularly, that of Cuchonnacht Maguire of Enniskillen.

In 1609, Cole was made Constable or Governor of Enniskillen.

He was knighted in 1617 and became one of the principal promoters and implementers of the Plantation in County Fermanagh, receiving extensive grants of land in and around Enniskillen in 1610-12 and acquiring more by purchase.

When Enniskillen was incorporated as a parliamentary borough in 1613, Cole became its first Provost.

At this stage, Enniskillen was seen as very much the county town of Fermanagh, and its original corporation included influential settlers (mostly English) like Cole.

But in the period 1611-23, Cole obtained leases or grants, on increasingly advantageous terms, of the two-thirds of the island of Enniskillen which went with the castle and the one-third which was intended as an endowment of the town.

The building of the town was largely a Cole initiative (there were only an estimated 180 inhabitants ca 1630).

Soon, Enniskillen became what a parliamentary reformer of 1790 called
the private property of the Earl of Enniskillen, and the [provost and] twelve burgesses, its sole electors, . .. the confidential trustees of his appointment.
 According to Pynnar's highly critical survey in 1619 of the practical operation of the Plantation, Cole was not wholly rigorous in the observance of the terms of his grants, particularly in the matter of administering the oath of supremacy to his tenants; but he was praised in 1622 for enforcing on his tenants at Portora the prohibition against sub-letting to the Irish.

Re-grants were made to him at subsequent dates re-emphasising some of his obligations, permitting some leasing to the Irish, and doubling the rents payable by him to the crown.

In general, he seems to have been more scrupulous than most Plantation patentees. Later, he was described by a contemporary as 'a brave, forward and prudent gentleman'.

He was elected MP for Fermanagh in 1634 and again in 1639. In 1641 he had a narrow escape from a treacherous death on the outbreak of the rising.

He raised a regiment and fought at its head (in spite of advancing years) in the confused wars of the 1640s, espousing the Parliamentarian cause and successfully defending Enniskillen against the Maguires. He died in 1653.

He had two sons, Michael and John, the elder of whom predeceased him.

John, the younger son, who died ca 1691, was made Custos Rotulorum for County Fermanagh and a baronet in 1661, being then, in effect, the head of the Cole family, because Sir Michael Cole, Kt, son of Sir John's elder brother, Michael, did not come of age until probably about 1663.

Sir John Cole, 1st Baronet, was a figure of more than local significance, as he was one of the commissioners appointed to implement the acts of Settlement and Explanation (the Restoration land settlement in Ireland).

He lived at Newland [probably Newlands, Clondalkin], County Dublin.

Sir John had a number of sons and daughters, many of whom died young.

In 1671, one of these daughters, Elizabeth, married as his second wife, her cousin, Sir Michael Cole.

On the occasion of this marriage, Sir John Cole settled on his daughter's issue his estate at Montagh, barony of Clanawley, County Fermanagh (which he had purchased in 1658).

This estate 'marched' or was intermingled with Sir Michael's own patrimonial estate in the barony of Clanawley.

Montagh did not, as the 4th Earl of Belmore erroneously supposed, include the site of the future Florence Court; but its accession shifted the centre of gravity of Sir Michael Cole's estate southward of Enniskillen, and must have had a great bearing on the decision to build in that location.

Montagh never actually belonged to Sir Michael, but came into the possession of the eldest son of the marriage, John Cole, either at his coming of age in 1711 or at his mother's death in 1733.

Nevertheless, it continued to be recorded as a separate entity in the family rentals until well into the 19th century.

In 1754, at the death of Sir Arthur Cole, 2nd Baronet and 1st Baron Ranelagh, only surviving son of Sir John Cole, 1st Baronet, his great-nephew, John Cole, the future Lord Mount Florence, had an income of £2,220 a year, which doubled his rental and provided him with the means to begin building soon afterwards.

The stated extent of the inheritance seems much exaggerated (if John Cole had had an income of £4,400 (equivalent to £733,000 in 2011) in 1754, he would have been among the richest men in Ireland), and it is not clear where the figure comes from.

Probably the source is one of the updated editions of Thomas Prior's List of the Absentees of Ireland, first published in 1729, which gives figures which are usually inflated.

In the present instance, however, the figure is even more misleading because it is based on the assumption that all Lord Ranelagh's estates went to John Cole.

This was not so.

Lord Ranelagh had other great-nephews and nieces, including Sir Arthur Brooke, Bt, of Colebrooke, County Fermanagh, whose ancestor would hardly have called his house Colebrooke if he had not received a significant endowment when he married Lord Ranelagh's sister.

Sir Arthur himself inherited (probably in 1754) Lord Ranelagh's estates in Counties Tipperary and Clare.

The County Dublin and Dublin City property seems to have been divided between Sir Arthur and the aforementioned Henry Moore, another great-nephew (hence the proximity of Cole's Lane, Moore Street, etc, in the vicinity of the General Post Office).

Even the West Dean and East Grimstead estate, Wiltshire (as has already been noted), was not inherited by the Florence Court Coles until 1819, and even then was subject to various co-heir-ships.
Lord Ranelagh was the origin of the Coles' mysterious 12,000 acre estate in County Waterford; but as it does not feature in Cole deeds of settlement until the 1790s, it – like the East Grimstead estate - may have been subject to a life interest to Lady Ranelagh which did not expire until 1781, ten years after Florence Court was completed.
At the very least it would have been subject to its share of her jointure. Old men with younger wives and no other close relations, are likely to make sure that their widows are well provided for.

In other words, Florence Court may have been built on Ranelagh 'tick' (and paid for later out of the proceeds from the sale of the Waterford estate), but there is most unlikely to have been any great influx of cash in 1754.

In fact, the main windfalls of cash at this time came from the sale of the seats for the borough of Enniskillen: one was sold in 1761, and both at the general elections of 1768, 1776 and 1783.

The prices are unrecorded, but must have been between £1,500 and £2,000 per seat.

Lord Ranelagh died in 1754, aged 90, without issue when the baronetcy and barony both became extinct.

MUCH OF MY RESEARCH EMANATES FROM THE ENNISKILLEN PAPERS, WHICH ARE DEPOSITED AT THE PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE OF NORTHERN IRELAND.

First published in April, 2011.

Brittas Castle

THE DUNNES WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN THE QUEEN'S COUNTY, WITH 9,215 ACRES

The estate of Brittas was time immemorial in the ancient family of DUNNE, anciently O'Doinn, chief of the name, and a sept of historic note.

The O'Doinns occur frequently in the works of James MacGeoghegan, in the Annals of the Four Masters, and the other Irish authorities. 

RORY O'DOINN, Chief of I-Regan, died, according to the Annals of the Four Masters, in 1427.

He left a son,

LENAGH O'DOINN, Chief of I-Regan, who built Castlebrack, in the Queen's County.

He married a daughter of O'Neill of Ulster and had issue,
TEIG, of whom hereafter;
Falie.
The elder son,

TEIG O'DOINN, Chief of Iregan, wedded firstly, Ellen, daughter of "Lord Power", and had issue,
TEIG (OGE), of whom presently;
Rory;
Edmundboy;
Shane;
Cahir.
 eldest son,

TEIG (Oge) O'DOINN, Chief of Iregan, espoused firstly, Gormla, daughter of O'Connor Faile, and had issue,
Brien, dsp;
TEIGH (REOGH), of whom we treat;
Edmund, of Park;
Dermot.
He married secondly, Giles, daughter of MacGillepatrick, of Upper Ossory, and by her had issue,
Donogh;
Cormac;
Cahir;
Dermot.
The second son,

TEIGH (REOGH) or THADY O'DOINN, of Iregan, had a grant of English liberty for himself and his issue, in 1551.

He wedded a daughter of McMorrish, and had issue,
THADY or TEIG (OGE), his successor;
TORLOGH or TERENCE, of whom presently;
Donagh, of Gurtin and Balliglass, living 1570;
Phelim;
Finola.
The eldest son,

THADY (or TEIG OGE) O'DOINN, of Tenchinch and Castlebrack, appointed Captain od IRegan, 1558, made settlements of his estates in 1590, 1591, and 1593, and was living in 1601.

He wedded Elizabeth, daughter of James FitzGerald, of Ballysonan, County Kildare, and had issue,
TEIG (LOGHA) or TEIG OGE, or THADY, his heir;
Cormac;
Brian or Barnaby;
CAHIR or CHARLES, of whom presently;
Murtogh;
Grany;
Two daughters.
The eldest son,

TEIGH (LOGHA) or THADY O'DOYNE (-1637), of Castlebrack, surrendered his estate, 1611, and had a regrant of the greater portion in 1611.

He espoused firstly, Margaret, daughter of Shane O'Neill, who left him and married Cuconaght Maguire, and had by her a son, Teige reogh or Thady, dsp before 1635.

He married secondly, Ellis, daughter of Redmond FitzGerald, of Clonbolg, County Kildare, and had seven sons, who survived infancy,
Edmund or Edward, dsp before 1635;
John, dsp before 1635;
William, of Park;
Richard, in holy orders; Vicar-General of Kildare;
James;
Rory or Roger;
Torlogh.
We now return to

CAHIR O'DOINN, alias CHARLES DUNN, LL.Dfourth son of Thady O'Doinn, Captain of Iregan, Fellow of Trinity College Dublin, 1593, Master in Chancery, 1602, MP, 1613, Vice-Chancellor, 1614.

He petitioned against the regrant of Iregan to his brother and got a grant to himself of Brittas and portion of the Iregan estates, which he bequeathed by his will, dated 1617, to his nephew,

BARNABY or BRIAN OGE DUNN (1590-1661), of Brittas, High Sheriff of Queen's County in 1623.

He obtained from CHARLES I a patent for a large estate in the barony of Tinnahinch, to hold to him and his heirs for ever in soccage, provided that he did not take the name, style, or title of O'DOINN, and that he should drop that same and call himself BRIAN DUNN.

He married Sybella, daughter of Sir Robert Piggott, Knight, of Dysart, and widow of Richard Cosby, of Stradbally, both in the Queen's County, and was succeeded by his son,

CAHIR or CHARLES DUNNE, of Brittas, who wedded Margaret, sister of John Coghlan, of Birr, and had issue,
TERENCE, his heir;
Edward;
John;
Charles;
Daniel;
Mary; Peggy; Polly; Clare.
Mr Dunne died in 1680, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

TERENCE DUNNE, of Brittas, captain in Moore's Regiment of Infantry, who fought for JAMES II and fell at Aughrim in 1691.

He espoused, in 1676, Margaret, daughter of Daniel Byrne, and sister of Sir Gregory Byrne, 1st Baronet, MP for Ballinakill, and had issue,
DANIEL, of Brittas;
Charles, dsp;
Barnaby;
EDWARD, of whom presently;
Dorothy.
The fourth son,

EDWARD DUNNE, of Brittas, married, in 1730, Margaret, daughter of Francis Wyse, of the Manor of St John, County Waterford, and had issue,
FRANCIS, his heir;
Barnaby, dsp;
Anastasia; Juliana; Margaret; Mary.
Mr Dunne died in 1765, and was succeeded by his elder son,

FRANCIS DUNNE, who wedded, in 1760, his cousin, Margaret, daughter and co-heir of Nicholas Plunkett, of Dunsoghly Castle, County Dublin, by Alice his wife, daughter and co-heir of Daniel Dunne (see above), and had issue,
EDWARD, his heir;
Francis;
Nicholas;
Alice; Frances; Katherine; Margaret.
Mr Dunne died in 1771, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

EDWARD DUNNE JP (1767-1844), of Brittas, General in the army,  Deputy Governor and High Sheriff of Queen's County, 1790, MP for Maryborough.

He took an active part in suppressing the Irish Rebellion of 1798, at which time he commanded the Pembrokeshire Fencible Cavalry.

General Dunne wedded, in 1801, Frances, daughter of Simon White, of Bantry House, sister to Richard, 1st Earl of Bantry, and had issue,
FRANCIS PLUNKETT, his heir;
EDWARD MEADOWS, successor to his brother;
Robert Hedges (Rev);
Richard;
Charles;
Frances Jane.
General Dunne was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON FRANCIS PLUNKETT DUNNE JP DL (1802-74), of Brittas and Dunsoghly Castle, County Dublin.

He was a Privy Counsellor, a Major-General in the army, Lieutenant-Colonel, Queen's County Militia MP for Portarlington, 1847-57, and for theQueen's County, 1859-68.

General Dunne held office as Clerk of the Ordnance, 1852, and was Private Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, 1858-9.

He died unmarried, and was succeeded by his brother,

EDWARD MEADOWS DUNNE JP (1803-75), of Brittas, Barrister, who married, in 1835, Marianne, daughter of Langford Rowley Heyland, of Glendarragh, County Antrim, and Tamlaght, Lieutenant-Colonel, Londonderry Militia, and had issue,
Edward Eyre, 1836-48;
Alexander Dupré, 1838-55;
FRANCIS PLUNKETT, his heir.
Mr Dunne was succeeded by his only surviving son,

FRANCIS PLUNKETT DUNNE JP (1844-78), of Brittas, High Sheriff, 1878, who wedded, in 1873, his cousin, Frances Jane, daughter of the Rev Robert Hedges Dunne, and had issue,
Francis Plunkett, died young;
ALICE MAUDE, of Brittas;
KATHLEEN PLUNKETT, of Brittas.
Mr Dunne, leaving his estates to be equally divided between his two surviving daughters, ALICE MAUDE and KATHLEEN PLUNKETT, who sold the estate of Brittas in 1898 to their uncle, Robert Hedges Plunkett Dunne, on whose death, in 1901, these ladies succeeded, again, to Brittas and Dunsoghly Castle.

Francis Plunkett Dunne was succeeded in the male representation of his family by his cousin, Charles Henry Plunkett Dunne.


BRITTAS CASTLE, near Clonaslee, County Laois, was a castellated house of sandstone with limestone dressings, built in 1869 by Major-General Francis Dunne, to the design of John McCurdy.


The Dunnes were influential in the form and history of Clonaslee, as evidenced in its planned form and also from a number of ruins in the area.

The former residence of a branch of the family remains in ruins one mile from the village at Clara Hill.

Also, near the east bank of the Clodiagh River, stand the ruins of Ballinakill Castle, built in 1680 by Colonel Dunne.

Throughout the 18th century, Clonaslee prospered due to its location on an important highway across Laois leading onto Munster.


The proximity of Brittas - the seat of the Dunnes - was also influential as the power of this family had by now grown beyond that of a native Irish chieftain.

In 1771, Francis Dunne, then head of the Dunne Family, became a Roman Catholic and built a thatched parish chapel in the village. This was located close to the site of the present church.

The Dunne family continued to finance the construction of landmark buildings in the village:
The parish Church was erected in 1814 under General Edward Dunne (known locally as 'shun-battle Ned' because of his rumoured refusal to fight at the 1815 battle of Waterloo).
When the main residence in Tinnahinch was blown up in 1653, the Dunne chief had to build anew. At this time there was a low thatched lodge located at Brittas.

Major-General Francis Plunkett Dunne built a Neo-Gothic mansion at Brittas in 1869. It was extended ten years later by Millar & Symes.

It is claimed that General Dunne obtained loans from Germany to build the castle, and rental income from his tenants was used to repay the lenders.

The gate piers of the grand house still remain on the western edge of the Green. The walls and windows give an idea of the house's architecture.

It was three storeys high and the roof was originally thatched. On the wall over the main entrance, the family crest is still visible, depicting an eagle and a drawn sword.

The last of the family to reside in Brittas House were the Misses Dunne.

The house had extensive gardens, shrubberies and out-offices. The links with Clonaslee village, and the remains of the Brittas estate are strong.
The expansive demesne grounds contain many splendid trees – remnants of the larger plantations. Lawson's cypress, copper beech, yew, sycamore, cut-leaved beech, and oak that covered much of the townland of Brittas over a century ago.
Brittas Lake – which has recently been restored – was originally constructed as a reservoir for the house. Its banks are stone lined and water was pumped from the Clodiagh River.

Brittas Castle suffered a fire fire in 1942 and, despite the best efforts of the Tullamore fire brigade, it was destroyed.

First published in September, 2012.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Kilkenny Castle

THE MARQUESSES OF ORMONDE WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY KILKENNY, WITH 11,960 ACRES


The antiquity of this family is indisputable; but whence it immediately derives its origin is not so clearly established.

The surname, however, admits of no doubt as springing from the office of CHIEF BUTLER OF IRELAND, conferred by HENRY II upon

THEOBALD FITZWALTER, in 1177, who had accompanied him into that kingdom in 1171.

This Theobald was eldest son of Hervey Walter (one of the companions of WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR), by Matilda de Valoignes, and brother of Hubert, Lord Archbishop of Canterbury in 1193 (translated from the see of Salisbury while a prisoner in the Holy Land), and subsequently Chancellor, Chief Justice, and Treasurer of England.

Theobald Walter having returned into England, afterwards accompanied PRINCE JOHN into Ireland, in 1185.

He was possessed of the baronies of Upper Ormond, Lower Ormond, and numerous other territories; and dying in 1206, was succeeded by his only son, by his wife, Maud, daughter and heir of Robert de Vavasour,

THEOBALD, 2nd Butler, who first assumed the surname of Le Botiler or Butler, in 1221.

He married Joan, eldest sister and co-heir of John de Marisco, a considerable baron in Ireland, to whose estates in Ireland and England his posterity succeeded; and dying about 1230 was succeeded by his eldest son,

THEOBALD, 3rd Butler, who wedded Margery, eldest daughter of Richard de Burgh (ancestor of the Earls of Clanricarde), by whom he acquired a considerable accession of landed property.

He died in 1248, and was succeeded by his son,

THEOBALD, 4th Butler (1242-85), who sat as a Baron in the Parliament of Ireland, and assisted EDWARD I in his wars in Scotland.

He espoused Joan, youngest daughter of John Fitzgeoffrey, Lord of Kirtling and Sheriff of Yorkshire, Lord Justice of Ireland, and youngest son of the famous Geoffrey FitzPeter, Earl of Essex, by whom he had a numerous family.

This Theobald, who obtained a grant from EDWARD I of the prisage of wines in Ireland, died in 1285, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

THEOBALD, 5th Butler (1269-99), who sat in parliament as a Baron, his name appearing fifth upon the roll.

who died unmarried, and was succeeded in his barony and estates by his brother,

SIR EDMOND, 6th Butler (c1270-1321).

This feudal Lord received the honour of knighthood in London, 1309.

In 1312 he was appointed Lord Deputy of Ireland; in 1314, Chief Governor, under the title of Lord Justice; and in 1315, created EARL OF CARRICK.

His lordship wedded, in 1302, Joan, daughter of John, 1st Earl of Kildare, by whom, with two daughters, he had three sons,
JAMES, his successor;
John, from whom the Earls of Carrick derive;
Lawrence.
Lord Carrick, going on a pilgrimage to Spain, to the shrine of Santiago de Compostela, died in 1321 after his return to London, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES, 2nd Earl and 7th Butler (c1305-38), who was a minor at the decease of his father, but obtained licence four years later, for the sum of 2,000 marks, to marry whomsoever he pleased.

He accordingly wedded Eleanor, second daughter of Humphrey, 4th Earl of Hereford, High Constable of England, by the Lady Elizabeth, daughter of EDWARD I; and was created, in consequence of this alliance, by EDWARD III, in 1328, EARL OF ORMOND.

His lordship had a renewed grant of the prisage of wines (which had been resumed by the Crown), and a grant of the regalities, liberties, etc, of County Tipperary, with the rights of a palatine in that county for life.

He was succeeded by his elder son,

JAMES, 2nd Earl (1331-82), called The Noble Earl on account of being great-grandson of EDWARD I.

In 1359 and 1360, his lordship was appointed Lord Justice of Ireland; and was succeeded by his son (by Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Darcy (Lord Justice of Ireland),

JAMES, 3rd Earl (c1359-1405); who by building and making Gowran Castle his usual residence, was commonly called Earl of Gowran.

His lordship purchased, in 1391, Kilkenny Castle from the heirs of Sir Hugh le Despencer, which he made his chief place of abode.

In 1392, 1401, and 1404, his lordship was Lord Justice of Ireland.

He wedded firstly, Anne, daugher of John, 4th Baron Welles, and had issue,
JAMES, his successor;
Richard (Sir), of Polestown;
Philip (Sir);
Ralph (Sir);
Anne.
His lordship espoused secondly, in 1399, Katherine FitzGerald, of Desmond, by whom he four children.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES, 4th Earl (1392-1452), who was called The White Earl, and was esteemed for his learning.

His lordship prevailed upon HENRY V to create a king-of-arms in Ireland by the title Ireland King-of-Arms (a designation altered by HENRY VIII to Ulster King-of-Arms, and he gave lands forever to the heralds' college.

He was Lord Justice of Ireland in 1407, and again in 1440, in which latter year he had a grant of the temporalities of the see of Cashel for ten years after the decease of the archbishop, Richard O'Hedian.

His lordship married firstly, in 1413, Joan, daughter of William de Beauchamp, 1st Baron Bergavenny, by whom he had three sons, successive earls, and two daughters; and secondly, in 1432, Elizabeth, daughter of Gerald, 5th Earl of Kildare, by whom he had no issue.

His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES, KG, 5th Earl (1420-61); who was created, by HENRY VI, in 1449, for his fidelity to the Lancastrian interest, EARL OF WILTSHIRE.

In 1451, was was made Lord Deputy of Ireland; and the next year, succeeding his father in the title of ORMOND, was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland for ten years.

In 1455, he was constituted LORD HIGH TREASURER OF ENGLAND, and afterwards made a Knight of the Garter.

Falling into the hands of the Yorkists, after the battle of Towton, his lordship was beheaded, in 1461, when the earldom of Wiltshire expired, as would that of Ormond, the Earl's brother and heir being also at the battle of Towton, and in consequence attainted, had not EDWARD IV restored him in blood, and so enabled him to succeed as

JOHN, 6th Earl, who was considered one of the first gentlemen of the age in which he lived; and EDWARD IV is reported to have said that "if good breeding and liberal qualities were lost in the world, they might all be found in the Earl of Ormond."

He was complete master of the languages of Europe, and was sent ambassador to its principal courts.

His lordship died in 1476, in the Holy Land, having, in a fit of devotion, made a visit to Jerusalem, and was succeeded by his brother,

THOMAS, 7th Earl (1426-1515); who was also attainted, but restored by HENRY VII's first parliament in 1485, and the statutes made at Westminster, in the reign of EDWARD IV, which declared him and his brothers traitors, were utterly abrogated.

He was afterwards sworn of the Privy Council, and was summoned to parliament as Lord Rochford.

Lord Ormond left two daughters, who inherited the English estates, namely,
ANNE;
MARGARET.
At the demise of his lordship, in 1515, the peerage passed to his kinsman,

SIR PIERS BUTLER (1467-1539), as 8th Earl (great-grandson of 3rd Earl); but this nobleman was obliged to relinquish it to Sir Thomas Boleyn, Viscount Rochford.

In consideration of which adandonment, however, Sir Piers was created by HENRY VIII, in 1528, EARL OF OSSORY.

Soon after this, he returned to Ireland, where he was chosen Lord Deputy by the Council, and proceeding through the city of Dublin on horseback to St Mary's Abbey, was there sworn into office.

Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Ormond, dying without issue, 1539, the King restored the Earl of Ossory to his original title of Ormond.

He wedded Margaret, second daughter of Gerald, 8th Earl of Kildare (which lady was called the Good Countess of Ormond), and had, with other issue,
JAMES, his successor;
Richard, 1st Viscount Mountgarret;
Thomas.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES, 2nd Earl of Ossory (1496-1546), who had been created, in 1535, Viscount Thurles; and was subsequently restored, 1541, to the earldom of Ormond, as 9th Earl.

His lordship wedded Joan, daughter and heir of James, 10th Earl of Desmond, and had seven sons, namely,
THOMAS, his successor;
Edmund (Sir);
John;
Edward;
Walter;
James;
Piers.
His lordship died by poison administered at a supper at Ely Palace, Holborn, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

THOMAS, KG, 10th Earl (c1531-1614), called, from the darkness of his complexion, The Black Earl.

This nobleman was the first of his family who conformed to the Church of England.

His died without surviving male issue, and was succeeded by his kinsman,

WALTER, 11th Earl, son of John, third son of the 9th Earl; who died in 1632, and was succeeded by his grandson,

JAMES, KG, 12th Earl (1610-88), six times Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

His lordship was created, in 1642, MARQUESS OF ORMONDE, and Baron Butler, of Llanthony, and Earl of Brecknock, 1660.

This nobleman, for his fidelity to the house of STUART, and his eminent services in the royal cause, was elevated at the restoration of the monarchy, 1661, to the DUKEDOM OF ORMONDE.

His Grace was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1662, and continued in that high office until 1668.

He married his cousin, Elizabeth Preston, in her own right Baroness Dingwall, and had surviving issue,
THOMAS (1634-80), father of JAMES, 2nd Duke;
Richard, 1st EARL OF ARRAN;
John, 1st EARL OF GOWRAN;
Elizabeth; Mary.
His Grace was succeeded by his grandson,

JAMES, KG, 2nd Duke (1665-1745), who inherited the Scottish barony of DINGWALL from his grandmother.

This nobleman was appointed a Lord of the Bedchamber in 1685; and serving in the army, participated in the victory over the unfortunate Duke of Monmouth, at Sedgemore.

He was afterwards, however, one of the first to join the standard of the Prince of Orange; and when that prince ascended the throne, His Grace obtained the Garter, and was constituted HIGH CONSTABLE OF ENGLAND for the coronation.

He attended WILLIAM III into Ireland, was at the Boyne, and subsequently entertained His Majesty most sumptuously at Kilkenny Castle.

In 1693, he was at the battle of Landen, where he received several wounds, and had a horse shot under him.

In 1702, His Grace was constituted, by QUEEN ANNE, COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF of the land forces sent against France and Spain, when he destroyed the French fleet, sunk the Spanish galleons in Vigo harbour, and took Redondela Fort, for which important services he received the thanks of both houses of parliament.

In 1711, he was declared CAPTAIN-GENERAL and COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF of the land forces in Great Britain, or which were, or should be, employed abroad inconjunction with the troops of the allies; which post he held till the treaty of Utrecht, in 1713; in which year he was made Warden of the Cinque Ports and Constable of Dover Castle.

But two years later (GEORGE I in the interim having succeeded to the throne), His Grace was impeached of high treason, and having retired into France, was attainted, when his estates became forfeited, his English honours extinguished, and Parliament passed an act which annulled the regalities and liberties of the County Palatine of Tipperary, vested his lands in the Crown, and proclaimed a reward of £10,000 for his apprehension, should he attempt to land in Ireland.

But the same parliament also passed an act, in 1721, to enable the Duke's brother, the Earl of Arran, to purchase the estate, which his lordship did accordingly.

This great but unfortunate nobleman married firstly, Anne, daughter of Viscount Hyde of Kenilworth, and had one daughter; and secondly, in 1685, Mary, eldest surviving daughter of Henry, 1st Duke of Beaufort, and left one surviving child, MARY.

The Duke resided in his exile chiefly at Avignon.

He had a pension from the Spanish court of 2,000 pistoles, and died in 1745, when his remains were brought into England, 1746, and deposited in the family vault, in HENRY VIII's chapel, Westminster Abbey.

At this period, it was supposed that the Duke's honours were all forfeited under the act of attainder passed by Parliament; but it was subsequently decided that no proceeding of the English legislature could affect Irish dignities.

According to that decision, His Grace's brother,

CHARLES (1671-1758), who in 1683 had been created Baron Butler, and in 1693, Baron Cloughgrenan, Viscount Tullogh, and Earl of Arran.

This nobleman assumed the style of 14th Earl of Ormond and 3rd Duke and Marquess; but his lordship never enjoyed, assumed, or was aware of possessing the English and Irish Dukedom of Marquessate.

He wedded Elizabeth, fourth and youngest daughter of Thomas, 2nd Baron Crew, but had no issue.

He died in 1758, when his own honours expired, with the marquessate and dukedom of ORMONDE.

The Scottish barony of Dingwall passed from the Butler family to the heir of the Prestons, and the Irish earldom of Ormonde and Viscountcy of Thurles, supposed to have fallen under the English attainder, became dormant, in which state those honours remained, until restored, in 1791, by the decision of the Irish House of Lords, to

JOHN BUTLER (c1744-66), of Garryricken, great-grandson of Richard Butler, of Kilcash, younger brother of the 12th Earl.

His lordship espoused, in 1763, Bridget Stacy, but had no issue, when the family honours reverted to his cousin,

WALTER (1703-83), who did not assume the titles.

He married, in 1732, Ellen (Eleanor), eldest daughter of Nicholas Morris, of The Court, County Dublin, and had issue,
JOHN, his successor;
Frances; Susanna; Eleanor.
He was succeeded by his only son,

JOHN, 17th Earl (1740-95), by decision of the House of Lords, 1791, who wedded, in 1769, the Lady Anne Wandesford, daughter and sole heir of John, last Earl of Wandesford, and had issue,
WALTER, his successor;
John;
JAMES;
Charles Harward;
Elizabeth; Eleanor.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

WALTER, KP, 18th Earl (1770-1820); created MARQUESS OF ORMONDE, who wedded, in 1805, Anna Maria Catherine, daughter and sole heir of Joseph Hart Pryce Clarke, but had no issue.

His lordship died in 1820, when the marquessate and English barony expired, and the other honours reverted to his brother,

JAMES, KP (1777-1838), 19th Earl; who was created, at the coronation of GEORGE IV, 1821, a peer of the United Kingdom, as Baron Ormonde; and in 1825 advanced to the dignity of MARQUESS OF ORMONDE.

His lordship was installed a Knight of St Patrick, 1821.

He wedded, in 1807, Grace Louisa, daughter of the Rt Hon John Staples, and had issue,
JOHN, his successor;
Walter Wandesford;
James Wandesford;
Richard Molesworth;
Charles Wandesford;
Anne; Louisa Grace; Elizabeth; Mary Charlotte.
His lordship was Hereditary Chief Butler of Ireland, a Knight of St Patrick, Lord-Lieutenant of County Kilkenny, and Colonel of the Kilkenny Militia.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN, KP, 2nd Marquess (1808-54), who espoused, in 1843, Frances Jane, daughter of General the Hon Sir Edward Paget GCB, and was succeeded by his son,

JAMES EDWARD WILLIAM THEOBALD, KP (1844-1919), 3rd Marquess, Commodore of the Royal Yacht Squadron, who wedded, in 1876, the Lady Elizabeth Harriett Grosvenor, daughter of the 1st Duke of Westminster, though had no issue, and the honours reverted to his brother,

JAMES ARTHUR WELLINGTON FOLEY, 4th Marquess (1849-1943), who married, in 1887, Ellen, daughter of General Anson Stager, USA, and was succeeded by his son,

JAMES GEORGE ANSON, 5th Marquess (1890-1949), Major, the Life Guards, who espoused, in 1915, Sybil Inna Mildred, daughter of the 2nd Baron de Ramsey, though had no issue, and was succeeded by his brother,

(JAMES) ARTHUR NORMAN, CVO, MC, 6th Marquess (1893-1971), who married, in 1924, Jessie, daughter of Charles Carlos Clarke, though died wthout issue, and the titles reverted to his cousin,

JAMES HUBERT THEOBALD CHARLES, MBE (1899-1977), 7th Marquess, also Earl of Ormond, Earl of Ossory, Viscount Thurles, and Baron Ormonde.

His lordship wedded, in 1935, Nan, daughter of Garth Griffith Gilpin, and had two daughters,
CONSTANCE ANN;
VIOLET CYNTHIA LILAH.
He married secondly, in 1976, Elizabeth, daughter of Charles R Rarden, though had no issue.

Without a male heir the marquessate became extinct in 1997, while the earldom is dormant.

The 18th Viscount Mountgarret, who succeeded his father in 2004, is understood to be the likely heir of the 7th Marquess's related title, Earl of Ormond, but has not successfully proven the claim.



KILKENNY CASTLE, County Kilkenny, is an impressive large-scale castle, representing an artefact of great significance in the architectural heritage of the county, having long-standing historic associations with the noble and illustrious house of Butler, Dukes, Marquesses and Earls of Ormonde.

Having origins in a late 12th century earthwork castle, the site has been continuously occupied ever since, with the present Kilkenny Castle surviving from a comprehensive early to mid-19th century redevelopment programme, completed to plans devised by William Robertson (1770-1850), retaining an important element dating from the early 18th century.


An elegantly composed Classical frontispiece built for James Butler (1665-1745), 2nd Duke, possibly to designs prepared by William Robinson (d 1712) or Francis Place (1647-1728), exhibiting high quality stone masonry, is positioned almost on line with a similar breakfront in the associated stable complex, thereby enhancing the formal quality of the streetscape of The Parade.


Of particular renown is the great hall accommodated in a later range, built to the designs of Sir Thomas Newenham Deane (1827-99) and Benjamin Woodward (1816-61).


This is an exposed timber roof construction identifying the technical or engineering importance of the site, featuring a decorative scheme of artistic significance by John Hungerford Pollen (1820-1902).

A chimney-piece carved by Charles William Harrison (c.1835-1903) (also responsible for carved embellishments in the arcaded stair-hall) exhibits particularly fine craftsmanship.

The Library

Several monarchs have stayed at Kilkenny Castle during the course of its history, including RICHARD II, JAMES II, WILLIAM III, EDWARD VII, and GEORGE V.

The Long Gallery

In 1935 the Ormondes ceased to live in the castle, which stood empty and neglected for the next thirty years.

EDWARD VII leaving the Castle

In 1967, however, the 6th Marquess presented it to the local committee and it has been largely restored as a state possession.

Having been carefully restored over the course of the late 20th century by the Irish state, the castle remains a valuable anchor site contributing significantly to the character of the townscape.

First published in September, 2012.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Glorious North Antrim

I've already said it many times though, for the benefit of new readers, I shall reiterate and reaffirm my great fondness for the village of Bushmills in County Antrim.

I stayed at my aunt's holiday home in Portballintrae for a few days and, driving past the little railway halt, a huge - not to mention grand - marquee came into eyesight in a large field beside the river Bush.

It was directly opposite the Bushmills Inn Hotel.

I should fill you in on a few preliminary details first.

The landlords of Bushmills and the entire area used to be the Macnaghten Baronets, of Dundarave estate (beside the village).

The Macnaghtens owned about 6,700 acres of land during the Victorian era, including the Giant's Causeway.

A few years ago the present Baronet sold his estate, including Dundarave House, to Dr Peter FitzGerald CBE, founder of Randox Healthcare.

Dr FitzGerald's plans for the development of his land (now 1,300 acres) include corporate hospitality, shooting, fishing, and his personal passion, polo.


Still with me? The massive marquee outside the village was erected by Randox for a charity polo tournament in aid of - correct me if I'm wrong - The Prince's Trust.

I had been informed of the cost of the tickets and speculation that a member of the Royal Family might attend.

Belmont, dear reader, was a mere bystander.

I did spot Mrs Joan Christie OBE, the Lord-Lieutenant of County Antrim; and the local constabulary looked exceptionally smart, wearing shirts and ties etc.


Speaking of the Northern Ireland police, they have a very good pipe band.

They marched proudly along the field, entertaining the spectators.

Judging by four flags flying from the marquee, there were four teams, namely, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the Irish Republic, and South Africa (I gather that Dr FitzGerald's sister is a horse-trainer or owner there).

Basement room at Downhill House ca 1930s

EARLIER in the day I motored through Coleraine and over the river Bann to Downhill Demesne, a property of the National Trust.

Downhill House, Castle, or Palace, whichever you prefer, was a seat of none other than the Right Honourable and Right Reverend Frederick Augustus Hervey, Earl of Bristol and Lord Bishop of Derry.

Let's abbreviate that to the Earl-Bishop.

The Bishop's Gate

I parked outside the Bishop's Gate, had a chin-wag with the staff in the lodge, and ventured forth into the glen.


Not, however, before I paid homage to the headless statue of the Earl-Bishop's brother George, 2nd Earl of Bristol.


The Earl-Bishop erected a magnificent mausoleum or monument to his brother (and patron) in the grounds, within eyesight of Downhill House.


The 2nd Earl's statue stood within this monument.

I walked towards the coastline, where the roofless shell of a belvedere or summer-house now stands.


It was built for one of his daughters, the Lady Mary Hervey (who married the 1st Earl of Erne).


Back at the Bishop's Gate, where the stonework is embellished with an earl's coronet, crests, mitres etc, there is a secondary entrance in the form of a tunnel, for the use of servants and tradesmen.